Posted (Tina) in All Posts on July-18-2008

Our first Colorado date night was a smashing success.

As we drove away from Ella last night, Josh was feeling more nervous than normal. We have only left her a few times since she was released from the hospital. And let’s clarify, it had nothing to do with Nurse Janet. It was simply that we had not left Ella with anyone since we had returned home to Colorado and it just felt strange.

We headed 5 minutes north of our house and ended up at the Brio Tuscan Grille, an upscale Italian restaurant. They just opened on Wednesday night, so it was their 2nd night in business at the Park Meadows Mall location.

The patio was beautiful and the weather was perfect. We sat on the outdoor couches and started with wine while we waited for a table. For their grand opening, they were carrying around free appetizers to taste.

Once we landed a table, it had a great sunset view of the mountains. You could tell that the service was a bit rough on the edges – – the staff was all new and just trying to figure things out. I think we were enjoying our free time too much to really care. The wine and atmosphere made up for all of it.

While we were sitting and waiting for salads to arrive, the general manager came to our table and introduced himself. We shared that we were on our first Colorado date night and gave him a 5 minute short description of Ella and our journey. Clearly, he was touched and felt privileged that we had picked his restaurant for such a big occasion.

Once we ordered, the server came back to the table and informed us that the manager was intending to cover the entire bill tonight. We were shocked! That was such a nice gesture and so unexpected.

About 5 minutes later, a gentleman from a nearby table approached us. He told us that he was a Christian and had overheard our conversation with the general manager. We shared more details about Ella, and he told us that he is a chiropractor. He offered his services free of charge, if we needed it. Wow, who would have thought that going to the Brio Tuscan Grille would have resulted in such generosity?

During dinner, I enjoyed Pasta alla Vodka and Josh enjoyed the Roasted Lamp Chops. Our entire date lasted about 3 hours and it felt like 10 hours. It was nice to escape away with just the two of us.

The entire time, we just reminisced about our journey this past year and wondering what God has in store for us in the coming days.

For those of you that have not read between the lines, I am going crazy staying at home with the Bun. It has nothing to do with my love for her and anyone that knows me well is not shocked by this confession. I have stated before that I am not the “Suzy Homemaker” type; God simply did not design me with those talents. Plus, I think that Ella’s medically fragile condition simply makes the entire stay-at-home mom experience even that much more challenging.

It has been tough for me because I have been battling feelings of guilt. I’ve felt bad that I don’t enjoy the stay-at-home mom experience more. Now that I have experienced it myself, I can honestly confess that it is the toughest job. I admire women that can stay-at-home with their kid(s) and feel fulfilled.

The bottom line is that we always want to be obedient to God’s will. That is why we went to Gainesville initially, why we decided to stay there longer, and why I quit my job to take care of Ella for the past 6 months. God was clear in the direction He wanted from us, so although the days have been tough at times, we knew it was the right decision for this season.

So as we look back and reflect while pondering what the future might hold, we look to Him for direction on the next best steps. We know that if we get clear direction from Him and we obey, it always works out. He takes care of all the details that seem impossible.

While we ate dinner, we also talked about the blog and all of you that have joined us on the journey. It has been an amazing way to share our story and receive support and love from friends, family and those we don’t know except virtually! Also, we talked about how touched we are that Nurse Janet came out to see us. She was one of the nurses that fell in love our baby girl. She is so sweet and it just meant a lot for her to visit.

It’s hard to believe that Ella will be 1 year old in 6 days from now. It’s so exciting to see how God worked this past year and it blows our minds to contemplate what He has in store for Ella. I’m sure it will be like nothing we could have imagined.

We are continuing to seek Him and waiting to hear His voice.

Psalm 119:2
Blessed are they who keep His statutes
and seek Him with all their heart.

Amanda Spivey on July 18th, 2008 at 9:39 pm #

I read your posts every day but haven’t really commented but reading this post made me tear up. Tina I honestly don’t know how you do it. I am a SAHM of two and its hard and they are both healthy kids so I can’t even imagine your days. You are doing a terrific job with Ella but I know that being stuck at home is no fun. I am praying for God’s discernment in your lives whether that be you going back to work full time or even part time. I know the Lord will work everything out and maybe he is just waiting for Ella to get a little stronger and then will send you someone special to keep her for you. Glad to hear that your date night was much enjoyed and that was so sweet of the 2 men at the restraunt. Anyway I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you guys. Can’t believe little Ella is going to be 1 already!

The Laz Fam on July 18th, 2008 at 9:41 pm #

Tina, this is such a hard journey for you ~ not just Ella’s health, but the journey of becoming all that God desires for you. You are such an inspiration to so many, just by your obedience. And not every day should feel like you hit a home run; not in this job, not in an “office” job. I am reminded of one of my favorite Amy Grant songs. She sings:
“If you look in the mirror at the end of a hard day, and you know in your heart you have not lied,
If you gave love freely, or if you earned an honest wage; and if you’ve got Jesus by your side,
You can thank the Father for the things that He has done;
And thank Him for the things He’s yet to do.
And if you find a love who’s tender, if you find someone who’s true, thank the Lord ~ He’s been doubly good to you.”

I know you remember every day, Tina, how good He has been to you! 🙂

Love you all!

kristin on July 18th, 2008 at 11:30 pm #

Oh Tina. Sometimes I don’t write because the words don’t always come out. But, I always read about what is happening with all of you.

What a huge blessing and I’m sure you were given some affirmations during your date night with Josh. I won’t pretend to know or even guess what they could be as they are only whispered in your ear.

These last two years have been beyond words and explanation for you and Josh. As articulate as you both are, we are all still looking from the outside in.

We are all here for you in the best way we know how. We can’t fathom what you are all going through unless we have shared through our own experiences.

I guess what I want to say is that we love you. We are not here to judge or question your thinking. We are here to support and to lift you up and walk with you. We are here to smile when you can’t and to join you when you can.

The Bun is amazing. Those eyes so bright and knowing. I’m sure when she speaks in sentences…no wait, when she paraphrases all of our thoughts we will all rejoice. No matter how her sound carries, we will all rejoice.

Susie Homemaker. Who is that gal anyway? I’d like to meet her. You know my own feelings of guilt, suppression and yes, depression. I have only one answer. Ella wants and needs you to be the best Mom you can be, period.

The doubt, the joy, the confusion, the denial and so much more is understood Tina. It’s understood by the one that matters most, God.

No one else has to get it all.

I love you. God loves you. He holds you; Josh and Sweet Baby West…little miss Ella in the palm of his hands.

Love you mean it,


Anne in Gainesville on July 19th, 2008 at 5:50 am #

The generosity of the restaurant manager and the chiropractor brought tears to my eyes. As one who believe is husbands & wifes intentionally working on a strong connection, I was so pleased to hear that you could have a date night. Sometimes those have to be quiet walks with the little one sleeping in the stroller even. Keep up the good work. The two of you are amazing! I was a stay at home Mom for many years and didn’t have a career until my last daughter started high school. As my daughters and their friends told me, it is good to know there is life after the children grow up. The very early years are the most difficult–even when there aren’t challenges like Ella’s. It’s the isolation that can drive one nuts. I admire your decision so much, Tina. I know how difficult it must have been. All moms feel guilty about something whether it’s that there wasn’t enough one-on-one time with each child when they are older, or that we’d rather be somewhere else instead of cooped up in the house with a little one or being grumpy because we didn’t get enought sleep when one has kept us up all night. That’s just part of being a Mom. You and Josh are a wonderful team. That team effort will mean all the difference in the world to Ella as she grows and matures and knows that Mom and Dad love each other and her.
Through all the tough times, her little smile shines through. The Lord has blessed you abundantly. Keep looking daily for those wonderful blessings as they will sustain you through the rough days.

LoriAnn & The Boys on July 19th, 2008 at 11:06 am #

I (almost) don’t know what to say after reading some of the posts. I, too, get frustrated and wonder why God chose the women to be the stay at home ones (I know that their are men out there that have taken that resposibility, too, so no offense to those). I am sure that Josh has his days of guilt, too. He “gets” to go to work, but he knows that you, Tina, are at home, and not just hanging out eating bon-bons and watching soap operas. I get so frustrated at home with all these boys, plus my four grandbabies while their mommy works. I KNOW for a fact that the Lord has challenged me, tested me, and has made me the woman I am today. I never even wanted kids! And now I have a wonderful daughter and four great boys AND six grandchildren (from one daughter!). Tom has been a God-send and I am sure that if he weren’t a Christian man, he would have left me and my issues long ago. Thank God for Lexapro! LOL
I know it is hard for either of you to leave Ella. My suggestion is you find someone that loves and can keep Ella safe for you to go on a date once a week. Yes! I said once a week. Okay, how about once a month? There are places/companies out there, especially in a big city like the one you live in, that can have people come to your house for hospice care. It has been offered to me and I only have an Autistic kid. Tina, you NEED to have some time alone with your hubby and I am not talking about the time when you are in bed, or when Ella is sleeping. I understand the dangers of infection for you daughter, so I am not ignoring that part. Nurse Janet is an awesome person and I am not trying to take any kudos away from her; what I’m trying to say is, there are other people like her all over. Ask the Lord to lead you to one (or two or three…) and He will send you the people that you can trust with your gift from Him. You may have to stay home a few times while you sit and watch, just as I did a few times with my kids. I would say more about this and where to find those people, but this post would take up three pages. You are more than welcome to get a hold of me or you can start asking around. You aren’t alone, Tina and Josh; He is watching your back and knows your future. It is hard to express my feelings right now. As most of you know, that have read any of my posts, I am usually not short of words. The Holy Spirit is working on me; I guess I just can’t “hear” right now. IDK. I do know that lots of people are praying for you and have found a whole new appreciation for their families from this site, including me. Blessings. And I do mean it, Tina, e-mail or IM me. I am never bored, but do love chatting online. Not much of a phone person, but would give you my number, if that is what you wanted. [email protected] From Northeast Washington, LoriAnn

Joel Snyder on July 19th, 2008 at 11:19 am #

Ella, It is so great to hear that Mom and Dad had a great date night. But you and I know that you had a great night with Janet. Tina and Josh I am so glad to hear that the manager at the restaurant and the chiropractor were so generous. I am praying that you will hear that voice or feel that thought that will lead you on to bigger and better things. Have a great weekend and relax if possible. I will catch up with you three later. Love,Grandpa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Julie on July 19th, 2008 at 11:54 pm #

God has really poured out his grace on you, Tina. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard enough even when you can stroll your kid around Target or meet up with a playgroup (two things that I think saved my sanity my first year with my son). I honestly can’t imagine doing it in near-complete isolation, like you’ve done. And with a child who needs as much attention as Ella does.

I think it’s saying something that you’re even able to do it at all.

Kara on July 20th, 2008 at 10:31 pm #

Take that chiropractor up on his offer. If you can keep undue nerve pressure off of her vital organs then she will grow and develop that much faster. I personally believe that every single person should get adjusted at least once a month. And it works wonders when they get snotty. Usually one adjustment would clear the girls up. And FYI every mother feels guilty no matter what they choose to do. If you stay home you feel bad about not contributing financially and if you go to work you feel like you should be at home. And if you start to go mind numb from being home all the time you feel guilty about that too. You just have to decide that the guilty feeling is ok. I have yet to figure out how to make it go away. But God will give you what you need. He always does.

Post a comment

Name:  (required)
Email:  (required)